Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events



This Thanksgiving we should all be thankful we live in a place where there is SO MUCH FUN SHIT TO DO ALWAYS. Here are five things you can do with yourself this weekend:

Plaid Friday
The day after Thanksgiving no longer needs to send shivers down your spine — in Oakland, Black Friday is now wearing plaid. Put on your best flannel and visit over thirty Downtown Oakland shops for special discounts all day. Even better, collect stamps at each Plaid Friday store you visit and redeem them for extra-special deals at participating bars, restaurants, and cafes in the area. Shop local, eat local, and remember why holiday gift shopping doesn't need to be synonymous with hell. Visit PlaidFriday.com for a map of participating businesses and more details.


Mentioning Bells in my "intro to me" opus I wrote my first week as music editor may have been a misstep — there are more global-fusion bands in my inbox than you can shake a maraca at — and yet I don't regret promoting the East Bay's answer to one of my favorite Brooklyn bands, Ava Luna. Like Ava Luna, Bells is a group of men and women who play a percussion-heavy style of various genres: art rock, Afro-pop, jazz, blues, and lounge, to name a few. At Bells' recent Cafe du Nord gig, it played a tight but improvisational set that held the energy of a band whose members truly loved making music together. The intimate, jazz-geared Disco Volante should be an ideal venue for Bells, which plays an entire show by itself on Saturday, Nov. 24, before taking off for two weeks of gigs in Miami. 9 p.m., $5. DiscoVolanteOakland.comWhitney Phaneuf

Food Social: Uptown Oakland
Ever thought of food trucks as start-ups? Food Social has. A “street food marketplace” that serves as an “incubator for the up-and-coming,” the San Francisco event is crossing the Bay for the first time on Friday, Nov. 23, with a night of food, beer, and music at The New Parish. Featuring food vendors like Soul Groove (famous for their fried-chicken-and-waffle sandwiches), Art Murmur’s paella-serving Nora, The Grilled Cheese Guy, and many more, the event will also include beer from Pyramid Brewery and a slate of DJs. Eat, drink, and be merry! 5-9 p.m., $5. Food-Social.org

Don Reed's The Kipling Hotel: True Misadventures of the Electric Pink 80s
To watch Don Reed's 2009 one-man show, East 14th: Tales of a Reluctant Player, was to fall in love with his style. He displayed an uncanny knack for chopping a four-year period out of his autobiography, shaping it into a perfect narrative arc, conveying the story through a repertory of character impersonations, and squeezing a moral from the end. And Reed managed to accomplish all that without resorting to platitudes (not until the end, at least) or sacrificing any humor. His new show, The Kipling Hotel, is about serving brunch to senior citizens as a part-time job while studying speech and debate at UCLA. Reed uses his endlessly elastic body to morph easily from character to character — he even throws in an over-the-top E.T. impression — while providing a vivid account of what it was like to be an African-American college student who'd come up from the inner-city. The historical backdrop — Los Angeles during the era of Reaganomics, crack cocaine included — heavily informs Reed's story, though he manages to find humor in even the most unfair and painful circumstances. Through March 25 at The Marsh Berkeley. $20-$35. 510-704-8291 or TheMarsh.orgRachel Swan

ThePeople Oakland
Yep, it's that time again. The East Bay staple, The New Parish's ThePeople party is here this Saturday. Go! Or don't go — stay home, eat turkey sandwiches, and watch Wayne's World instead. No judgement; just make sure to be thankful it exists.